1. Here’s one for you…..Virtual ofices.

    1 April 2016

    An agent in another town ( about 10 miles away ) is advertising a phone number on his web site indicating that he has an office in Cramlington.

    They clearly haven’t got an office in Cramlington; if they had I would know about it.

    According to them, it’s a virtual office.

    Intrigued?  I was.

    It’s the way forward, said the principal when I asked him about it. I’m doing it before everyone else does. Ahead of the curve, he says. I have experts who know the area without the expense of having an office.

    The only house that I’m aware of that they are marketing around here is way overpriced and has been on the market for 10 months.

    Personally, I think it’s misleading.

    We once had an agent who advertised an office in Cramlington when all he had was a display in a newsagent’s shop window.

    He went out of business.

     


  2. Landlord Testimonial: It really does seem remarkable…

    24 March 2016

    I wanted to say a very big thank you to all at Renown for looking after me for the last 10?15? years….please pass these comments on to all the staff!

    It really does seem remarkable, that it is 19 years since I went to view flats in the area with a slim, new boy called Paul Booth who was a tad surprised that I as good as put him in charge of selecting the property to buy, as well as then having to let it!!!!! …a lot has happened in the ensuing years, mostly positive.

    Anyway again many thanks and all the best for the future.

    John McConnell.


  3. Making an empty house look nice isn’t easy.

    16 March 2016

    It may seem that selling an empty house is easier.

    It can prove to be quite the opposite these days; just ask an agent.

    As you will no doubt know, most property searches start on the Internet. Whether it be Google, Onthemarket or Zoopla, out comes the iPad, laptop or smart phone and the quest begins.

    The ones that stand out are the nicely finished, smart, well decorated and fully furnished.

    When it comes to taking photos of rooms there isn’t a lot you can do with an empty magnolia living room. Kitchens and bathrooms are easier but trying to get a good shot of a plain, painted room with a cream carpet isn’t easy.

    There nothing to give you a reference point or show a buyer whether their table, sofa and book case will fit. That’s the problem these days. The viewing is done online and good homes are being passed by because of this.

    That’s why house builders spend so much on show homes. What you see is not always what you get. You get the empty box.

    So don’t discount the vacant ones. Arrange to see them for yourself. A good agent will be happy to show you around and see what you could be missing. And…….there may not be an upward chain

    So you see Mr and Mrs Owner,  we are doing our best to educate ( well Renown is anyway ).


  4. What’s going to happen today then ?



    In our business you never know. This is a bit of a lengthy tale but if you’re not busy, stick with it.

    Many years ago I had a call from a solicitor who asked for our help in valuing a property . The instruction came about because an old guy had refused to pay his Council Tax and ended up in court. We were able to help out with an approximate figure and thought no more about it.

    Some months later we had another call from the solicitor who reported that the old guy had sadly died and had a business card in his pocket found by a nurse at the hospital bearing his name. We were asked to meet him at the property we had valued previously.

    It turned out to be a flat above a shop in a typical parade that you find in many towns and villages.

    The place was in a right mess. It was stuffed with old furniture, piles of newspapers and general rubbish including scores of empty catering size mayonnaise tubs. There was no bedding, just an old coat for cover and nowhere to cook or wash.

    It seemed from what we had found that the owner must have been fairly destitute but the lawyer found a few Building Society passbooks.

    We measured it up and left it the way it was. On leaving we stuck a notice to the front door asking that any enquiries should be passed to us or the solicitor.

    After a few days the enquiries started. The first was to ask if we were taking the rent payments for the shop below. Then a second, then a third from other shopkeepers in the street.

    It turned out that our old guy hadn’t been quite so poor after all.

    He owned several shops,  as well as the flat,  a house nearby, a cottage with quite a bit of land, a lock up garage full of rusting vintage cars and had lots of cash in various bank accounts.

    Some time later we learned that he owned a couple of houses in the Midlands.

    Locals said that they didn’t think that he had any family as no one ever saw any visitors.

    1As you hear said a lot these days; he kept himself to himself.

    We decided that the fairest way to dispose of these various properties would be to auction them. We used an independent auctioneer who specialised in this type of sale.

    It was all set up, widely publicised, well attended  and they were all knocked down at fair prices.

    The solicitors enquiries turned up a few distant nieces and nephews, some of whom attended the auction to tot up their anticipated windfalls which, by the way, ended up in a share of the slightly north of a couple of hundred thousand ( bearing in mind that this was quite some years ago ) not to be sniffed at.

    One lady expected to get her share there and then at the end of the sale. Not to be, of course.

    It was all done and dusted and after a  while they all got their share.And this all this started because Mr. S ( no names please ) didn’t pay his Council tax.

    Just another day at the office.


  5. Which way to go with leaseholds?

    3 February 2016

    I was at a lunch time meeting today with a group of surveyor/valuers.We have regular get togethers to talk over topical stuff and general property matters.

    As usual the leasehold situation is on the agenda and it is interesting to see how things are moving.

    The general consensus now seems to be that the lease extension with no up-front payment and a high, index linked ground rent is not favoured and may result in very little increase in value of a property.

    This is something to bear in mind when choosing which type of lease extension to go for.

    Any mortgage valuation will be influenced by both the length of time remaining on a lease and the ground rent payable.

    As an example recent ground rent figures quoted for new leases with no up front payment are over £700 p.a.

    Something to think about and even more reason to challenge the prices quoted by Simarc, Compton Group and Shenstone.

    What we need is a move against this trend of relatively short leases on houses and flats.

    There is no real reason that new leases should have a longer term. Flats with a “Tyneside ” lease were given 999 year terms.

    These flats are found all over Newcastle and Northumberland.

    The terraced flats in the village on East View Ave and Blagdon Terrace have this sort of lease.

    No problems with them.

    There are Bell flats at Wideopen with these long leases.

    Why not Cramlington?


  6. Leasehold problems taken to M.P.

    18 December 2015

    Latest update.
    One of our friends has had a meeting with Ronnie Campbell, M.P. for Blyth Valley about the ongoing issues with leaseholds.
    Ronnie is interested in helping us if he can.
    This is a huge step forward in our campaign to get some fair play.
    He has asked for as much information as we can generate about the situation.
    I have my own ideas on what to submit and i am probably going to do it by bullet pointing the issues that I think are the most important.
    Please put your thoughts and experiences on our page,
    any ideas that you think would improve matters and again, please pass this on to as many as you can who feel they have been affected by the current situation.
    Even more important to stop our kids falling into the trap when they buy.
    This is not just a Cramlington problem. Newsham Farm in Blyth, Kington Park, parts of Killingworth, estates around Durham, indeed any Leech, Barratt or Bellway estates are similar so if you have any friends there make sure they get involved too.
    We need numbers!
    I will put everything together for a meeting planned early in the New Year.


  7. Where do Freeholders and their agents get these figures from?

    7 December 2015

    We have been on a bit of a crusade to help owners of leasehold properties recently as you may know.

    Why are we bothering?

    Here’s why.

    We had a call from an owner of a leasehold detached house on one of the Northburn estates in Cramlington recently. He had been quoted over £14,000 for the purchase of his freehold.

    After a discussion and quite a bit of negotiation he managed to agree on a figure of £3,125  ( a bit of a difference there you’ll agree ).

    We happen to be selling a similar property in the same street, also leasehold on similar terms. The owner enquired about the price for obtaining the freehold and guess what?  He was quoted over £14,000.

    Naturally, we have passed this information on. He won’t be paying what they asked.

    That’s why we are bothering.

    What would happen if we weren’t passing this sort of stuff on ?

    Why would anyone want  to pay up without checking values first?

    The more information we get and pass on the more we can help you save money and reduce stress.

     

     

     


  8. Cramlington Leasehold Information

    16 November 2015

    Have you seen this page on Facebook?

    It’s still early days but the number of followers and contributors is gaining pace.

    I am encouraging everyone to post any useful information and share their thoughts.

    Please have a look and let me know what you think.

     


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